Lecce is a particularly attractive town, and extremely lively. It’s set in an area steeped in history and traditions, while at the same time determined to keep pace with economic and social change, and cultural development. Lecce and the surrounding Salento area is a safe and friendly place, with a great deal of natural beauty as well as architectural wealth and extremely hospitable local people.
With a population of about 95.000 inhabitants, is the principal city in the Salento Peninsula in South-Eastern Italy. With its magnificent geographical position, this area nestling between the Adriatic and the Ionian seas offers a diversity of natural sceneries.
Thanks to its Baroque style Lecce has been dubbed “the Florence of the South”.
All the churches and historical monuments are built with the golden-yellow and malleable “Lecce stone”.
The centre of town is bustling with outdoor meeting-places and clubs, teeming with a young crowd enjoying the night life. And the locals are known for their laid-back and welcoming attitude.
Olive oil and wine, the most well-known traditional products of the area are appreciated all over the world and provide the basis for a succulent gastronomy, and a wealth of traditional dishes.
The following is an approximate guide to the minimum amount you should expect for living expenses in Lecce.
For your stay you will need approximately € 600 per month to cover these costs but remember that this is only a guide. These costs are for one person only and students with children and dependants should keep this in mind when working out a budget.
|Shared Accommodation (own room)||150-250/month|
|Accommodation with a family||200/week (meals included)|
|Bills (Electric/Gas/Water)||60/month (only for private acc.)|
|Socialising||up to you|
Please bear in mind these things before leaving for Lecce:
- Do you have sufficient knowledge of Italian to fully enjoy the experience (or at least you’re motivated to improve your knowledge)?
- Do you have a valid identity card/passport?
- Do you need a visa to come to Italy?
- Where will you be living in Lecce?
- Did you check your health insurance coverage in Italy?
- Do you have enough ready money (or valid credit cards etc.)? During the first days after your arrival you will have expenses...
Documents you have to bring to Lecce:
- Official admission letter
- Original certificates of your qualifications required for university enrollment
- If you already have studied in your country: original or legal copies of your degree certificates and transcripts of your courses issued by your University (in Italian or English)
- A valid EU Identity card or passport
- Check if you need a study visa for Italy because you can’t convert a tourism visa into a study visa once your tourism visa expires.
- A number of passport-size recent photographs
- For non EU citizens, you may be required to provide evidence that you have funds for your living expenses (at least €600/month). Check with the Italian Embassy in your country.
Important things you need to do during early days after arrival in Lecce:
- Open a bank account (if, for example, you’ll be receiving an EU grant )
- If you are a EU citizen, Register your address at the comune or if you are non- EU apply for a permesso di soggiorno permit to stay (if you are planning to stay in Lecce for a period exceeding 90 days)
- Ensure you have a health insurance policy valid for Italy. EU citizens should select a local doctor, registering with IMPS (Contact the International Office for details).
Lecce is at the end of the rail line that travels along Italy's east coast. There are direct sleeper trains from Turin, Milan, Venice and Bologna. It is just over 5 hours from Rome, 4 from Naples, 90 minutes from Bari and 30 from Brindisi. Lecce can also be used as a springboard for a large number of towns around the area, and exploring outside of the city itself is manageable. If you arrive by train, it is a 15 minute walk from the station to the historic center of town. The railway network connects Lecce to the other towns of the Region and to Rome or Bologna.
Additional infos: www.trenitalia.com
The closest airports are in Brindisi and Bari, which now have direct flights to an increasingly large number of European destinations. Please check the Puglian airport website for flight possibilities (www.aeroportidipuglia.it).
If you are coming from further afield you can fly to one of Italy’s international airports, such as Rome Fiumicino, Milano Malpensa or Venice, and from there you can fly direct to Brindisi airport, which is 35-minutes by bus from Lecce, or to Bari, which is connected by train (under 2 hours) to Lecce.
From Brindisi (airport code BDS) the bus service (navetta) will take you directly to Lecce’s main bus station (ticket price: 7 euros). NB: the timetable changes a number of times during the year, so please check the validity.
As an alternative you can book a shuttle bus service (20 euros) which will take you directly to your accommodation/hotel. A Taxi service is also available but will cost you about 55 euros if booked in advance – and more if you pick it up at the airport.
From Bari (airport code, confusingly, BRI) there is both a bus and a train link to Bari train station (ticket price: 5 euros), less than 15 minutes by train and about 30 minutes by bus. There are then at least hourly fast Intercity Frecce trains (€18-€25) to Lecce throughout the day and night, as well as a number of slower, but cheaper (€9), regionali. Tickets can be bought on the internet, often at greatly reduced prices if organized in advance.
The local bus service is run by SGM, and a longer distance coach service STP Lecce connecting the Salento peninsular ( e.g. Porto Cesareo, Otranto, Santa Maria di Leuca and Gallipoli).
Non-EU nationals may enter Italy provided that they hold both a valid passport and, where required, an entry visa issued in their country of origin.
If you are staying for more than 3 months:
As soon as you enter Italy you should apply for a residence permit in line with the duration of your entry visa.
If you are staying in the EU for study for less than 3 months:
- from non-Schengen states, you should report your presence to the border authorities when entering Italy and the border authorities will put a Schengen stamp on your passport.
- from other Schengen states, register your arrival at the local Questura (central police station) within 8 days.
If you are staying in a hotel, the registration form you will sign may well be useful to show the Authorities if asked to show proof of where you are you are staying. The hotel should provide you with a copy.
An entry visa is the authorization which enables you to enter Italy. It is a printed visa sticker which will be attached to your passport or other valid travel document.
A visa is issued by the Italian Embassy or consul in your country of origin or permanent residence. You cannot apply for a visa or an extension while you are in Italy.
A study visa is not required if you are a national from one of the countries whose citizens are exempt from any visa requirement for short-term stays not exceeding 90 days.
A study visa is required if you are a national of one of the countries whose citizens are subject to a visa requirement (Do you need a Visa? - Visa types and validity).
Residence Permit Issue
If you are a non-EU national and plan to come to Italy for a period exceeding three months, you must apply for a residence permit. If it is your first time in Italy, you have 8 days to apply for a residence permit.
If you are planning to come to Italy for study for a period not exceeding 3 months you are not required to apply for a residence permit (see also: How and where you can obtain a residence permit in Italy - Information for European Union citizens)
If you are a national from either a EU Member State or an EEA country or you are of Swiss nationality, you should have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC, Italian acronym: TEAM) obtained in your home country from your national healthcare authority. The European Health Insurance Card (or EHIC) allows to receive medical treatment in another member state for free, or at a reduced cost.
A patient contribution is required for prescriptions, medical examinations, oral and dental care.
Non-EU Students: must take out an international Health Insurance which covers costs related to medical treatment and admission to hospital. This kind of insurance costs about 60 EUR for a period of 6 months and 120 EUR for a period of 12 months. Nevertheless, in order to avoid problems it is advisable to contact insurance agencies before leaving for Italy.
An insurance policy is compulsory if you apply for a residence permit.
EU incoming students with EU Health card or Health Certificate can go directly to a general practitioner of their choice. The list of available doctors can be consulted at the ASL Office (Health National Unit)-Viale Don Minzoni, 8 – Foreigner Office.
Non-EU students have to purchase a personal health-insurance policy with a consular declaration of validity for Italy. Alternatively they can buy a local health insurance policy to be covered for any medical care on the same basis as an Italian citizen.
Students from low-income families can apply for tuition-fee reduction or exemption.
Benefit eligibility for EU and non-EU students are set annually.
If you are an international student living and working in Italy or with a family working in Italy, you are entitled to the same set of benefits, and should follow the same procedures and deadlines as the Italian students.
If you are an international student, resident abroad, you will also need the following official proof before your arrival in Italy:
- family composition (in Italy it’s called Stato di famiglia, please ask the Italian Embassy in your Country)
- family income (economic condition) of the whole family (e.g.Tax return)
- family property ownership (e.g. Land Registry Office records, please ask the Italian Embassy in your Country)
These declarations must be translated into Italian and certified by the Italian Embassy or Consulate.
When you will arrive at the University of Salento, these documents will need to be authenticated by an office outside of the University (see the International Office for further information). You will then be given an Attestazione ISEEU, which is what you will need to apply for a grant, a canteen card and free/reduced rent room in Halls of Residence, etc.
For further information regarding student support, click on ADISU (Agenzia per il Diritto allo Studio Universitario, information in Italian only), the agency responsible for student welfare services.